Nov 27,2013 by JohnCheney

Use the right CRM software to look after your members and they’ll look after you.

Not for profits  managing your members online

Chances are you will already use CRM software. Not that you will necessarily call it that. You may use an exotic combination of spreadsheets or databases, you may have a legacy bespoke package or even use dedicated NFP software. Whatever tools you use, the intent will be the same – Relationship Management. And whatever the nature of your organisation, you will need your CRM software to manage, amongst many other things:

  • Fundraising.
  • Spending.
  • Charitable projects.
  • Volunteers.
  • Cases.

Arguably though, the most important component of your CRM – the heart of your CRM – is your membership management. Not just managing your existing members, but managing new ones too. Your members are your lifeblood; managing them efficiently, effectively and with consideration is essential. That they’re members in the first place shows they have a desire to contribute. The challenge is how to make it as easy as possible for them, and at the same time, as beneficial as possible for you. As some of the leading names in the UK charity sector are happy to admit: ‘Questions about the choice, implementation and operation of effective CRM systems are common’.

Here are just some of the ways that a CRM system can help your organisation nurture proximity and reap the very best rewards from your members’ very best intentions.

A Cloud CRM system that integrates with your website is the perfect way to both gather and manage members:

  • Staff can instantly and remotely access important organisation-wide data to help manage relationships.
  • 24/7 marketing and online conversion opportunities.
  • Automatic web form to CRM data transfer enables new members to sign up via your website and allows existing members to update their records via your website.

‘Companies that automate lead management see a 10% or greater increase in revenue in 6-9 months.’

Marketing Technology Insights

Data integrity and ease of update

  • Members are able to update contact or personal information easily through the website.
  • Members control their preferred ways of communication.
  • A single integrated database system means no duplication, no inconsistent data and real-time accuracy.

An extended breadth and depth of important member information

  • Define almost unlimited data fields.
  • Store detailed and relevant data.
  • Mine member information for more targeted marketing.
  • Use member history to inform future marketing campaigns.

Communication opportunities

  • Send targeted newsletters and mailers.
  • Store and quickly access interaction history.
  • Offers and subscription suggestions.
  • Use detailed relationship insights to inform future communications.

Easy audience segmentation for marketing campaigns

  • Slice and dice your database in any way you choose.
  • Target offers directly.
  • The more personal you make it, the more profitable.

‘Relevant emails drive 18 times more revenue than broadcast emails.’

Jupiter Research

Use personalised marketing emails? Here’s how to personalise your website and social presence too.

Automated membership processes

  • Set alerts against records to issue renewals and reminders.
  • Birthday best wishes and anniversaries.
  • Target lapsed or cancelled members.
  • Incentivise upgrades and new introductions.

‘Event-triggered marketing can potentially save 80% of your direct mail budget.’

Direct Marketing News

Relationship Management for NFPs? It’s a single simple philosophy, delivered through a single integrated approach. As you can see though, the benefits are many. Why struggle with a Heath Robinson mishmash of legacy systems or a CRM that inspires tears of frustration instead of years of donations?

Remember, a CRM system can help your organisation nurture proximity with your members and help you reap the very best rewards by:

  • Giving you one centralised database, ensuring data integrity and improved member communication.
  • Automating administrative tasks and streamlining processes, improving efficiency.
  • Allowing for a personalised user experience.

CRM and Membership Management for NFPs \u002D a Practical Guide


Nov 14,2013 by JohnCheney

Successful CRM software deployment needs to be underpinned by a customer-focused culture change

Customer Relationship Management (CRM) is often mistakenly thought of as an extension of the sales team’s address book. Some more progressive organisations also use CRM software to manage customer service calls. But CRM is more than just software – it’s an ethos.

"It's a behaviour called CRM, not a technology" - Mark Sauter, president and CEO, GTP Associates Inc.

CRM isnt only software how to change your culture

CRM software “failure”

Many businesses, having implemented a CRM software solution immediately assume that their sales and efficiency levels will rise. They immediately set about business as usual, waiting to see what happens.

After a few weeks or months when the expected results fail to materialise, the software is dismissed as a failure and falls into disuse, or becomes an over-glorified address book. But because the business has simply implemented CRM software, rather than adopting a CRM ethos, they have missed the point of the exercise.

"The philosophy, 'If we build [CRM] right it will sell itself' is not true." - Mark Sauter, president and CEO, GTP Associates Inc.

Less than 50% of CRM projects fully meet expectations” – Answers to Five Frequently Asked Questions About CRM Projects – Bill Band, Principal Analyst at Forrester Research.

Getting CRM software implementation right – asking questions

For a successful CRM software implementation, it is first essential to carefully analyse internal business processes by asking difficult questions:

·       How does each business process benefit your customers?

·       What is the overall organisational focus? Long-term customer retention or short-term profit?

·       How does each business unit regard customers? Are they the focus of all their efforts?

·       Are we ready for the new “social” business model?

·       And the toughest of all – what do we need to change?

Without asking these questions, you cannot undertake the next step of the CRM software implementation process.

"My goal is to [use CRM to] suck the air out of my competition." But to do so it's necessary to unify the company under one CRM vision: "A prelude to failure is not building a CRM umbrella over every aspect of your business." – Peter Weedfald, vice president of strategic marketing and new media at Samsung Electronics America.

Getting CRM software implementation right – making changes

After carefully analysing business processes, it is then essential to implement the changes identified. Failing to adapt business processes to meet customer needs will ensure that any CRM software implementation will fail. There are two key changes required:

·       Cultural change that places the customer at the centre of everything your business does.

·       Process changes that ensure business activities are undertaken with a focus on meeting customer needs.

Cultural change needs to be modeled first by senior management, and then adopted downwards throughout the organisation. This means:

·       Representing the client’s needs internally.

·       Provide full training to ensure staff are using CRM software to its full potential.

·       Creating and enforcing operational policies designed to improve customer experience.

·       A commitment to continued improvement of processes.

If executives aren’t committed to the CRM project, don’t expect middle managers to buy in. Likewise if the head of sales or service won’t lead by example — and make employees work differently — don’t expect CRM project success.” Adam Honig, CRM consultant and strategist.

20% of CRM implementation problems are related to strategy and deployment - Forrester Research.

So remember:

·       CRM software helps underpin cultural change – it is not the agent of change.

·       Successful CRM means focusing on the client’s needs.

·       Processes that do not focus on customer needs to be changed until they do.

·       Customer-centric policies need to be adopted and enforced.

Making a CRM System Work for Marketeers


Nov 07,2013 by JohnCheney

Get the lowdown on what CRM projects cost, how long they take and what benefits they deliver.

In this study, Nucleus Research discovered that the ROI on CRM projects is:

$5.60 for every $1 spent

which equates to

£3.58 for every £1 spent

But what’s the cost of implementation, how long should it take and what are the benefits?

CRM implementation   the numbers

CRM Implementation Costs

This will depend on many factors but now that the Cloud has removed the need for capital investment in in-house systems, a good online CRM system should cost around:

  • £0 for micro businesses that have up to 2 users
  • £20 per user/month for small/medium businesses that don’t need all the advanced functionality
  • £40 per user/month for larger businesses that need more

CRM implementations often cost more than the total annual license fee, but it's worth the initial upfront cost because:

a) The on-going license fees are very reasonable for Cloud based CRM systems.

b) The business benefit you get from the system usually means that you'll easily make your money back within the first year.

It’s important to know that with larger vendors, such as Microsoft and Salesforce, buyers are sometimes restricted to using certain third parties for implementation. These companies may be more expensive than doing it yourself or using a smaller vendor - and they may not provide such a tailored service.

CRM Implementation Timescales

Big or small, every business will need to go through the same steps. How long it takes depends on:

  • The size of your company
  • The quality of your data
  • Commitment to the project from key decision-makers
  • Whether you’re having customisations or going for out-of-the-box solutions
  • Whether you are able to do some implementation work yourselves or whether you would prefer to use the vendor or another third party

But the thinking is for businesses of 10-50 people it’s anywhere from 3-9 months.

Get a headstart with this guide to creating a CRM implementation project plan.

CRM Implementation Benefits

Business success today relies on delivering excellent customer experiences and the right CRM can help you do just that.

You’ll benefit from:

  • Time and money saved as a result of automation and streamlined business processes (for example, Sales can spend more time selling and less time doing admin).
  • Tools that enable you to better cross-sell/up-sell to existing clients.
  • Delivering better customer support, and also sending automatic renewal reminders, which will increase customer retention.
  • The ability to better segment your data for more targeted marketing. Twenty more leads a month may result in 10 more sales a month. If you multiply that by 12, then you've made your money back on your CRM implementation cost. have also got some great statistics on the impact it has on your bottom line:

  • Your existing customers are 120% more likely to buy from you than new ones.
  • New customers cost 5 times more to sell to than existing ones
  • Email subscribers convert 75% better than other new prospects
  • Increasing customer retention by 2% is the equivalent of cutting costs by 10%

Up\u002Dselling and Cross\u002Dselling \u002D CRM Strategies That Really Work


Nov 04,2013 by JohnCheney

In our previous post on ‘Automate your way to profitability: 5 things you'll never have to do again once you have CRM’ we’ve covered the ways a CRM system will save you time while increasing ROI. So we’ve decided to conduct a poll to find out which function of CRM you find the most advantageous. Vote now!

Workbooks Poll


Oct 31,2013 by JohnCheney

Precious time saved automating your sales and customer relations is time that can be spent winning new, more profitable business.

Automate your way to profitability 5 things youll never have to do again once you have CRM

There’s certainly no shortage of compelling reasons to adopt CRM. The headline benefits of a well specified and well deployed CRM system are clear for all to see.

For example:

  • Quick and easy access to up to date customer information.
  • The simple scheduling of tasks and reminders.
  • More profitable sales cycle management.
  • Deeper, better informed management decision making.

What’s not necessarily recognised as well are the day to day benefits of automation. The kind of automation that eliminates repetitive, time-consuming sales and marketing chores and allows your salesforce to consistently focus their efforts on what really matters - winning new business. With between 30% to 50% of the leads entering your pipeline unready to buy, any automation that can help your team work those leads to the point of conversion has got to be a good thing.

Competitive Advantage

The advantages for organisations using strong automation are ongoing. According to the Lenskold Group, companies using marketing automation report a 28% increase in revenue per sale. 66% of respondents said they expected faster growth than their competitors.

Put simply, CRM matters, and if applied well, is a path to both stronger profits and healthier long term growth.

Here are 5 things you'll never have to do again once you have CRM:

  1. Input new or revised data into multiple forms or databases - Automated mapping and bi-directional synchronisation takes care of version control and means that your sales force is connected and aligned. Organisations waste a huge amount of time hunting for up-to-date information; CRM presents a single, consolidated and consistent window on your sales opportunities.
  2. Miss out on important prospect behaviour - Customer and prospect activity such as visiting a web page may be an indication of progress along the sales funnel. Setting up alerts to monitor actions gives you the opportunity to engage at exactly the right time.
  3. Assign the wrong lead to the wrong person - Not all leads are equal. Automation grades your marketing leads using demographics and email marketing data to prioritise and allocate them to the right sales staff.
  4. Manually write acknowledgement emails - Automation delivers instant email responses to support cases and other email issues. As well as client-bound email benefits management can be automatically emailed information - for example details of a high value opportunity.
  5. Guestimate campaign success - Tracking campaign revenue allows you to know which campaigns are proving successful and optimise resource allocation accordingly.

Effective Automation

Simply entering data into a system isn’t the key to profits. Effective CRM sets workflow routines designed according to the most effective sales rules and processes. It doesn’t just focus on existing processes but seeks to consolidate, to enhance and to streamline. It’s CRM that applies consistency, best practices and reduces manual input. The benefits appear naturally and profitably:

  • More sales
  • Better customer retention
  • More profitable relationships

The Future of CRM

According to a Forbes review of the Gartner findings, CRM and marketing automation provides significant benefits for sales and marketing organisations by delivering better qualified leads to the CRM system, helping sales improve conversion rates and increase ROI.

Little wonder that so much attention is now being focused on CRM and marketing automation with Gartner analysts predicting that by 2017 the CMO will spend more on IT than the CIO.  

Calculating the ROI of CRM \u002D a Business Leader’s Guide


Oct 24,2013 by JohnCheney

Ask some key questions before you buy Salesforce and you might discover that Workbooks is a more cost-effective and transparent CRM partner.

10 questions you should ask before you buy

Market leader

Nobody’s arguing that Salesforce is the biggest selling CRM system. For the time being, anyway. As Forbes recently reported, Gartner estimates Salesforce’s global market share at 14 percent ($2.5 billion worth of sales) in the year 2011-2012 – ahead of those traditional enterprise software vendors that have moved into CRM (SAP, Oracle, Microsoft and IBM) and the emerging breed of Cloud CRM vendors.

Not so fast 

But look a bit closer, and you’ll find a more complex picture. Two reports - the G2 Crowd CRM analysis and the Gleanster CRM for Small and midsize businesses report - put Workbooks ahead of Salesforce in several categories, suggesting that it is easier to use and deploy, delivers better overall value and is Salesforce’s equal in terms of features and functionality.

What users say

There is also plenty of anecdotal evidence – a recent report in the New York Times is typical - that businesses deploying CRM can end up going through a number of suppliers, including Salesforce, in quick succession because after the initial purchase they find the system requires too much complex customisation. That incurs costs, delays and even project failure. Even something as fundamental as Salesforce’s reporting tools has attracted criticism.

Hold fire

So if you’re about to embark on a CRM project and Salesforce seems like the most obvious first port of call, it might be a good idea to think again.

Here are ten questions to ask before you commit your CRM strategy to the current market leader:

1.      What is the real cost going to be if I need to upgrade the Professional or Enterprise Editions to get the features that my business really needs? What if I just want extra features for individual users or small groups of power users?

Remember that with Workbooks, you can mix and match licenses across different editions so you’re certain to benefit from a more flexible approach to pricing. If you only need additional functionality for one or two users, there’s no need to upgrade your entire user base.

2.     Can I deal directly with Salesforce when it comes to implementation, or am I obliged to work with third-party partners at additional cost?

Workbooks provides end-to-end services and support as part of your service, so you won’t find any unexpected costs following implementation.

3.      Where will my CRM data actually be stored?

All Workbooks data is held in UK data centres - reassuring as far as the security of business-critical information is concerned.

4.      What generic Service Level Agreements do you provide?

Workbooks guarantees 99.5 percent service availability to all its clients, regardless of your company’s size.

5.     As I am not an enterprise client, how can I be sure that Salesforce is committed to a long-term business relationship based on realistic costs and no unexpected price hikes further down the line?

Workbooks provides a transparent pricing model and has a strong, specific pedigree in meeting the needs of mid-sized organisations.

6.     Will I have to upgrade to a more expensive package if I just want some basic CRM features such as Workflow, Advanced Security, Content Libraries and Campaign Management?

Workbooks includes some of these features in its core editions, or can provide them as add-ons for just £3 extra, per user, per month - no need to upgrade all of your users to a more expensive edition at a significant cost.

7.     Is there a simple way for me to track orders and invoices along with my customer information, without getting bogged down in building my own apps, or buying an expensive third-party app?

The Workbooks Business Edition allows you do this ‘out of the box’ for just £39 per user, per month.

8.     If I want to integrate Salesforce with my website and back office systems, or develop my own apps without resorting to third-party products, how much will it cost me to use your API framework?

Workbooks has an open API, making it easy for you to develop your own standards-based apps.

9.     My users will need different page layouts, fields and record types. Will I have to upgrade to the Professional Edition for every user just to do this?

Every paid edition of Workbooks comes with customisation tools which empower you to tailor every aspect of the system to the specific needs of your individual users.

10.  If all my employees and customers are already on Skype, Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn, why is there so much focus in Salesforce on the internal collaboration tool Chatter?

Workbooks has a feature called iFrames, which allows you to see social media profiles from within your CRM system – so it integrates fully with your business’s use of all the most popular social networks in employee and customer engagement.


  • Don’t take any CRM vendor’s claims at face value
  • Look for a transparent pricing strategy
  • Check out the true cost of upgrades, additional features and app development
  • Find out what customisation will cost
  • Make sure the vendor itself can meet all your CRM needs
  • Satisfy yourself that your data will be held where you want it
  • Get the complete lowdown on SLAs

Making a CRM System Work for Marketeers


Oct 17,2013 by JohnCheney

Business benefits and ROI on CRM projects are no longer a ‘nice to have’ but a prerequisite so discover how to prove them.

Even though businesses are more focused than ever before on the bottom-line numbers that everything they invest in delivers, CRM ROI can still be broken down into tangible and intangible benefits.

Tangible Benefits (and how to prove them)

  • Tangible Benefit #1 - More and bigger deals at less cost

        This study from Success with CRM shows that CRM solutions can deliver:

  • 10% sales revenue growth per sales representative each year
  • 5% cut to the cost of sales
  • 5% increase in win rates for forecasted sales

How to prove it: Map data from the CRM reports against historical data for these KPIs.

  • Tangible Benefit #2 - Happier customers staying with you

Businesses using CRM effectively deliver better customer experiences, which results in better customer retention rates:

  • according to Apptegic, a 5% cut in customer churn rate delivers 25-125% more profit!
  • Gartner says 80% of your future revenue will come from just 20% of your existing customers!

How to prove it: Compare customer churn rates for the 2 years prior to the CRM implementation to the first two years of its use; and also track improvements in your customer satisfaction surveys.

Get more tips on proving ROI in this article from CRM Infoline.

Intangible Benefits (and how to measure them)

  • Intangible Benefit #1 - More efficient processes

All departments can easily access customer information, saving time and improving processes across the business through automation:

  • Marketing benefit from automatic lead capture and assignment, tools to automate lead scoring, and the ability to easily track who’s been sent what, when and whether they responded.
  • Sales benefit from Marketing’s automated lead assignment and spend less time doing admin and more time selling.
  • Finance benefit from automated invoicing and better visibility of who’s paid and, if they haven’t, whether they have a customer service issue
  • Customer support benefit from automatic case creation via email or website and tools to automate assignment and prioritisation.

How to measure it: Advice from Success with CRM says ROI can be measured by time spent on value-adding tasks after implementation.

  • Intangible Benefit #2 - Happier and more motivated staff

Giving people easy access to the info they need to do their job better improves motivation and shows how they impact the wider business:

How to measure it: Employee satisfaction surveys with CRM users to show how it’s made them happier.


Download your free eGuide now: Calculating the ROI of CRM  - a business leader’s guide

Calculating the ROI of CRM \u002D a Business Leader’s Guide


Oct 10,2013 by JohnCheney

Take the fear out of CRM implementation by following these basic steps and choosing a partner who understands your business needs

If you’ve got as far as thinking about CRM implementation, the chances are you’re already feeling overwhelmed by the number and range of CRM platforms out there. And it’s probably left you with some deep concerns about complexity, not to mention doubts about how quickly you might be able to realise a return on your investment.

7 steps to a smooth CRM implementation

The first thing to realise is that you are not alone. According to a recent Gartner report (Market Share Analysis: Customer Relationship Management Software, Worldwide, 2012), 40% of all CRM systems purchased between 2011-2012 were supplied via the Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) model. In other words, the Cloud is increasingly the preferred method for implementing CRM software.

As Forbes points out, this suggests that people like you want a CRM implementation that  doesn’t come with a lot of embedded legacy baggage, and can deliver the benefits of constant evolution and refinement as cost effectively as possible.

The second thing to realise is that by joining forces with the right CRM partner - and following some basic steps - you can implement a CRM system quickly and simply, and see an immediate return on your investment. This will help you to avoid some of the main reasons why CRM projects fail.

1. Preparation is key

Put your project team together carefully. Consult IT, but don’t let them lead the project. You will need buy-in from all the teams and managers who are going to be using the new CRM system. So make sure they are well represented.

And don’t forget your sales people. If you don’t have their support from the start, their lack of familiarity with the system could incur delays and underlying resentment down the line.

2. Who should be on your team?

  • An evangelist - preferably a senior figure such as the president, CIO or CFO who can drive awareness and generate support from the top down.
  • Key executives.
  • Departmental managers, including sales, marketing and customer service.
  • Subject matter experts, who can identify relevant data sources and business processes.
  • IT managers.
  • CRM technology experts, who can bridge the gap between IT and the ultimate users.
  • A project manager, to manage the scope, time, budget and quality of the CRM implementation.

3. What do you want from your CRM implementation?

Don’t be mean with your research. Identify the requirements of the project’s key stakeholders and build a common set of expectations. Once you have your requirements lined up, prioritise them - and be prepared to drop any that could disrupt the project’s key focus.

Don’t be too ambitious.Consider an initial pilot project involving one or two critical departments. That way you can manage the business’s expectations more effectively.

4. Configure your system

If you’ve picked the right partner, they will help you modify the CRM system to match your requirements, helping to avoid user backlash caused by any delays in its ability to address requirements.

5. Personalise your database

You’ll need to import all the relevant data from different sources across the business. This is your chance to ensure consistency, remove duplicate references and consolidate your records.

Be thorough but don’t migrate irrelevant data or you will simply be recreating the complexity and confusion that your CRM project is probably designed to address! Then test your database extensively.

6. Train your people

An effective CRM partner will provide a range of in-house, online and virtual resources to help your users achieve the most productive levels of competence in the new system.

As with any critical business application, getting people to use the system can be a big challenge. Non-technical users need jargon-free explanations that will help them see the relevance of the CRM implementation to their business processes. Referring them to manuals or assuming that they will just start using the system simply won’t cut it.

7. Go live

But just before you do, rerun your data migration to make sure that the system is using the most complete and up-to-date information. And don’t leave the new system’s users to their own devices. Support them from the start and your CRM implementation will deliver a return on your investment from day one.


  • Spend as much time as you can on preparation.
  • Make sure you have all the right people on your project team.
  • Match the relevant business processes with your CRM implementation requirements.
  • Consider departmental or phased implementation.
  • Configure and customise your system.
  • Populate it with clean, relevant data.
  • Test your database before you go live.
  • Rerun your data migration to ensure that the system will be up to date before you hit the launch button.


Find out what CRM could do for you in our free eGuide: Upselling and cross selling - CRM strategies that really work

Up\u002Dselling and Cross\u002Dselling \u002D CRM Strategies That Really Work


Oct 03,2013 by JohnCheney

The four top reasons people leave for a new CRM system is undoubtedly the largest vendor of Customer Relationship Management software in the world, as well as one of the most successful providers of Software as a Service (SaaS). So big in fact that they are even listed on the New York Stock Exchange with the reference code “CRM”.

But although it may be the easy choice, is often not the best fit for every business, especially mid-size organisations. Many businesses start their CRM journey with, before looking elsewhere for a solution that better meets their needs. Here are the four top reasons organisations leave

Why people move off salesforcecom

1. Cost

One of the biggest complaints about is the price of the service. As with most SaaS offerings, subscription is on a per-user basis, and requires a minimum purchase of five licenses, and you will be required to upgrade to more expensive versions as your usage extends.

If you want to use the API with, for example - as many businesses do - you’ll need to upgrade to the Enterprise edition, which is £85 per month, per user. If you want to upgrade one user to a more expensive package, requires you to upgrade all your users. And as you want more features, you will need to keep upgrading.

There are much cheaper options out there, which can prove to be much better value - Workbooks Business Edition, for example, costs £39 per user per month, and comes with sales order management and invoicing functionality that you can’t get with You can also upgrade on a user-by-user basis, allowing your organisation to grow without costs escalating.

2. Vendor support

Vendor support for a CRM implementation is essential if your business is to get the very best from its investment. Where immediately falls down, however, is on the fact that it does not provide its own implementation services for small and mid-size businesses - rather, it sends them on to a third party, who are likely to charge a large fee for the work with no guarantee of a successful outcome to your CRM project.

Ironically for a customer-centric solution provider, are also known for poor ongoing customer support, especially for non-enterprise companies. Salesforce are currently in court being sued by valve manufacturer Bray who claim that after paying an additional $22 per user per month for a “Premier Support with Administration” package:

·       Although automated email acknowledgement of issues were received within two hours, the problems typically took two weeks or more to resolve.

·       Despite being promised local support, users in Brazil were forced to call’s support hotline in Portugal if they required support in Portuguese.

·       Six-monthly onsite “health checks” of systems were not performed for two years.

Bray’s filing claims they have spent over $290,000 on the “improved” support package.

It’s worth small and mid-size businesses looking for a system who offer both CRM implementation and customer support when you need it, such as Workbooks, who provide full implementation services and on-going support. So not only does Workbooks ensure your CRM delivers results at the early stages, it’s even willing to guarantee a successful outcome to your CRM project, which is something that other systems lack.

3. Limited scope

At its core, is a CRM system, nothing more, nothing less. This means that if you’re looking to introduce additional functionality to the system, such as sales order management and invoicing functionality, which Workbooks offers as part of its Business Edition, may be disappointed. does offer a range of “add-ons” which can connect to other in-house business systems, but these are chargeable, often adding a significant cost to the existing license fee. In order to add additional functionality such as order processing or invoicing, customers must purchase Apps from the AppExchange. Customisation is also only available for the Enterprise and Unlimited plans which cost between £85 and £170 per user per month.

4. US-based data

The storm regarding security service monitoring of data continues to rage, as do concerns about compliance with European data protection regulations. Under the terms of the PATRIOT Act, any data stored in a CRM system managed by a US firm can be obtained by the US security services without having to inform you, the data owner.

“The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Amendments (FISA) Act makes it easy for U.S. authorities to circumvent local government institutions and mandate direct and easy access to cloud data belonging to non-Americans living outside the U.S., with little or no transparency obligations for such practices -- not even the number of actual requests.” – Axel Arnbank, researcher and author of “Cloud Computing in Higher Education and Research Institutions and the USA Patriot Act".

To protect intellectual property and customer privacy, many businesses are now choosing a CRM solution from a European provider which is protected from such access by local law.

Although is a workable CRM solution:

·       It can be extremely expensive.

·      Key business functionality such as sales order processing is not included, and would require extra expenditure.

·       There are serious concerns over’s support provision.

·       Data stored in the US may be less secure than a UK-based Cloud CRM system.


Download your free eGuide now: Making a CRM system work for marketeers

Making a CRM System Work for Marketeers


Sep 26,2013 by JohnCheney

Learn why NFPs should be replacing legacy contact management databases with next generation CRM systems.

Not for profit organisations (NFPs) need to minimise operating costs wherever possible to ensure that their activities generate maximum return. Unfortunately this means many businesses skimp on contact management systems. But choosing a limited functionality option could actually be less efficient, and therefore more costly than full-blown CRM systems.

 Is CRM the new membership management for NFPs

Address books aren’t enough

Despite having hundreds, if not thousands of members and subscribers, many NFPs rely on small-scale solutions to store their details. It is not uncommon to find them using:

·       Outlook address books.

·       Excel spreadsheets.

·       Custom Access databases.

·       Small-scale contact management systems.

The problem with any of these systems is that they may be great for keeping membership details, but they are pretty poor for advanced membership management.

Worse still, each of these “solutions” requires significant manual intervention. Staff will need to manually update membership status details, address changes and other personal information to ensure that:

·       Information is completely accurate.

·       Information meets Data Protection Act standards.

However each time data is re-keyed or copied from a letter or email, the chances of a typographical error increase exponentially. Worse still, data stored in the contact management database is not available to be shared with other systems throughout the organisation.

“Centralising all of an organisation’s customers in a single system is the preferred method of providing a “single supporter view” which is often mentioned by NfP organisations… Holding one central master record on each customer has numerous benefits: data is held once, as one respondent put it “there is one single instance of the truth”, data is entered once, data is updated once, there are no integration issues with one database communicating with another to keep records synchronised when an update is made on one, data is always up-to-date as the first person to be notified of a change of customer details, e.g. a change of address, makes the change on the database. The “single instance of the truth” has benefits in terms of making it easier to comply with the Data Protection Act and in cost reduction through a lessening of maintenance tasks and staff time.” – Towards a Taxonomy of Reusable CRM Requirements for the Not For Profit Sector – Peter Flory.

CRM systems provide the ability to store contact details, organise and execute donation campaigns and provide mechanisms to simplify membership data update.

Simplifying mass-mailing

With a traditional membership management system, a mass mailing can also be a massive undertaking. Filtering the members who need to receive a renewal letter, for instance, often requires a staff member to physically check records before the mail merge can be performed.

Using CRM systems, details of membership status, renewal dates and subscription fees can all be stored within contact records allowing for quick and easy status reporting. Similarly renewal letters or emails can be set on a schedule so that they are sent automatically each month without intervention.

“The more processes that can be automated the more time staff have to spend on relationship building with their customers. Workflows should be defined wherever possible so that tasks in a sequence are initiated automatically” - Towards a Taxonomy of Reusable CRM Requirements for the Not For Profit Sector – Peter Flory.

Website integration

The manual management of membership details is a weak point for any NFP. Mistakes can and do happen, leading to failed membership renewals or missed donations. Worse still, where mistakes become commonplace, NFPs may find that they begin to lose frustrated members, further reducing organisation effectiveness or fundraising potential.

Using CRM systems that hook into your organisation’s website, it becomes possible to capture new contact details directly from an online form or self-service web portal. In this way you can grow your contact list and be sure that the details are correct because they have been entered directly by the interested party. Similarly existing members can be encouraged to log in and update their own details as and when they change, thereby ensuring that contact data is accurate. Your members will probably even prefer contacting you in this way.

“Just 28% of consumers prefer contacting companies by phone vs. using the Web for routine answers.” - Forrester Research

Where contact management systems were once sufficient for Not For Profit organisations, CRM systems are now the logical platform of choice because:

·       CRM systems reduce the number of systems required to store members’ data.

·       One centralised member record makes data management simpler and cheaper.

·       Automated contact systems make it easier to keep members informed, establishing closer relationships.

·       Self-service data update services suit members and reduce your administrative overheads.


Be more cost and time-efficient when it comes to member management. Download your free eGuide now: CRM and membership management for NFPs - a practical guide

CRM and Membership Management for NFPs \u002D a Practical Guide




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